Works programme a solution to poverty

Financial Mail - 1 September 2011

Donovan van den Bergh, a smart-talking native of Cape Town's notorious Manenberg gangland; Pamela Eksteen, a devout and respected member of the Lutheran church in Intabazwe, Harrismith's windswept and dusty township; and Papati Nkosi, an aged gogo whose home is in the remote hills of Mpumalanga on the Swaziland border, live worlds apart from one another.

This, says Kate Philip, one of the architects of the plan, means that the CWP is able to take account of the reality that unemployment in SA is deep and structural. Even when the economy improves, unemployment among the least skilled and most marginalised will be here to stay. While other developing economies are able to use subsistence agriculture as a safety net to soak up those who cannot find work in the formal economy, colonialism in SA destroyed subsistence agriculture and intentionally forced people off the land.